Profiles

Administration

Kathy Bailey

Head of School, Admissions, and Human Resources

Kathy Bailey has a BA in both Elementary Education and Spanish from Houghton College and graduated summa cum laude from Virginia Commonwealth University where she earned a MEd in Curriculum and Instruction. Mrs. Bailey came to Clapham School in 2013 with over twenty years of teaching and school administration experience. Kathy and her husband have four grown children and one grandson. Kathy enjoys handwork, taking photos, traveling, and spending time with her family. Mrs. Bailey and her husband attend Bethel OPC in Wheaton.

Jason Barney

Academic Dean

Jason Barney earned his BA in Ancient Languages and English Literature from Wheaton College. In 2009 Jason joined the faculty of Clapham School and began building the Latin program and Middle School. In 2012 Jason was awarded the Henry Salvatori Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Hillsdale College. In May 2014 Jason completed his MA in Biblical Exegesis at Wheaton College, where he received The Tenney Award in New Testament Studies. From 2015-2016 Jason taught Upper School Latin at The Geneva School of Orlando, while serving on the Clapham School Board of Directors. In his free time he enjoys strategy games, long discussions, and good books. Jason and his wife Ashley have a daughter named Alethea and are members at College Church.

Kolby Atchison

Secondary School Principal

Kolby Atchison holds a BA in Philosophy from Biola University and an MA in Systematic Theology from Wheaton College Graduate School. While at Biola, Kolby studied great books in the Torrey Honors Institute and served as a chapter director for National School Project. His senior year he received the Outstanding Senior Thesis Presentation award for his paper on natural law ethics. In 2013, Kolby joined the faculty of Clapham School as Class Seven teacher and Athletic Director. In his free time Kolby enjoys traveling nationally and abroad, reading and writing about theology and education, serving in his local church, and spending time with his wife. He and his wife attend College Church.

 

Christine Escareño

Lower School Principal

Christine Escareño graduated from Wheaton College with a BA in Elementary Education and from National Louis University with an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction. Christine served as a missionary in Mexico for ten years. Upon returning to the United States, Christine taught Elementary School in CUSD 200. Christine enjoys camping, baking, and spending time with her family. Christine, her husband and their four children attend Iglesia Del Pueblo in West Chicago. Mrs. Escareño has worked at Clapham School since 2010.

Elise Poppe

Lower School Assistant Principal

Elise attended Moody Bible Institute and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education for Christian Schools and a B.S. in Bible. She worked at Clapham School beginning in 2009 as an aide to Explorers One and Class One and then taught Class Four from 2010-2015. Feeling the pull of adventure, she moved to Colorado to teach fourth grade at Ambleside Colorado. She found adventure in an unexpected form when God called her to marriage and back to the Chicago area. She continues to enjoy learning about the Charlotte Mason approach to education and has done so in various training opportunities with Ambleside Schools International. She is a lifelong learner who can often be found reading, cooking, and watching the Denver Broncos.

Faculty

Jenna Adams

Class One

Jenna Adams graduated from Northwestern University with a BS in Learning and Organizational Change as well as a certificate in Civil Engagement. She went on to earn a MA in Elementary Education from Wheaton College while also completing an endorsement in teaching English as a Second Language. During her studies at Wheaton, Jenna had the opportunity to student teach in a first grade classroom in CUSD 200. Outside of school, she enjoys playing board games, going on walks, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. Jenna and her husband attend Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park. Mrs. Adams joined the Clapham School faculty in 2017.

Emily Arnold

Administrative Assistant, Secondary School French

Emily Arnold received her BA from Wheaton College in Christian Education. When not working, she enjoys translating texts, creating crating projects and finding new uses for old things. Since she grew up in France, where her parents serve as missionaries, Emily speaks fluent French and loves languages. Emily and her husband attend Mount Prospect Bible Church. Mrs. Arnold joined the Clapham School faculty in 2015.

Steve Battaglia

Class Four

Steven Battaglia graduated from Grove City College with a BA in History and a Biblical Studies minor.  While a student at Grove City College, Steven led a campus ministry and counseled at Summer’s Best Two Weeks.  After graduation, Steven spent time teaching at a home co-op.  Outside of school, Steven is passionate about spending time with his wife and baby boy, reading good books, playing basketball, and fishing.  Steven and his family attend The Federated Church of Sandwich. Mr. Battaglia joined the Clapham School Faculty in 2016.

Hannah Bramsen

Upper School Humanities Teacher, Theatre Director

Hannah Bramsen graduated magna cum laude with a BA in English literature and Theatre Arts from Gordon College. While at Gordon she had the privilege of participating in a great books honors program called the Jerusalem and Athens forum, as well as the opportunity to study at Oxford University in England and Jerusalem College in Israel. After graduating, she worked as a theatre-teaching artist for Chicago public schools. She continues to stage manage for various Chicago theatre companies. Hannah and her husband have one son named Erik and they enjoy kayaking, traveling and cross-country skiing. They attend All Souls Anglican Church. Mrs. Bramsen joined the Clapham School faculty in 2012.

James Cooper

Upper School Math; Lower School PE

James Cooper holds a BS in Economics from the University of Minnesota and an MDiv from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. He joined the faculty of Clapham School in 2017. Mr. Cooper currently lives in Chicago with his wife, Madeleine, where they attend Bethel Christian Church. In his spare time, he loves to study the life and theology of Martin Luther, roast coffee from around the world, and tinker with open-source software.

Ashlyn Duff

Explorers One (Pre-Kindergarten)

Ashlyn Duff completed her BA dual-degree in Elementary Education and Bible from Moody Bible Institute. At Moody she received specific training in Christian education and discipleship and earned an ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) teaching certification. Ashlyn enjoys going on walks, collecting children’s books, learning about health, nutrition, and essential oils and has been an equestrian for over 20 years. Ashlyn and her husband attend College Church and are expecting their first child this fall. Mrs. Duff joined the Clapham School faculty in 2015.

Jeremy Foster

Middle and Upper School Science

Jeremy Foster received his BS from Wheaton College, IL in Biology, with a minor in Psychology. While attending college, he worked in the Biology department as a greenhouse caretaker, TA in Microbiology, and did research with Dr. Koo in the Microbiology department, working on a close cousin of the plague bacteria. After graduating from college, Jeremy worked in a research laboratory, testing biological products to prevent pests and fungi on a variety of crops. Jeremy was born and raised in France, and his love for Biology sparked while going on hikes with his family, and bird watching with friends. When he is not thinking about botany, Jeremy coaches improv at Wheaton College, draws, watches (many) documentaries, and occasionally tries to talk about biology to his friends. He attends the Glen Ellyn Evangelical Covenant Church. Mr. Foster joined the Clapham School faculty in 2017.

Jenny Johnson

Class Two

Jenny Johnson graduated from Miami University (Ohio) with a BS in English Education. As a graduate assistant at Xavier University in Cincinnati, she earned her MBA, helped manage the Xavier Entrepreneurial Center, and received a capstone award in strategic thinking. Jenny has worked extensively in communication, reading specialization, and editing. She has enjoyed serving as a pastor’s wife for 14 years and teaching students of all ages. She and her family are members of College Church. When unable to drink her favorite java at the Art Institute, she can often be found deciding between a fiction or non-fiction book, trying to speak French, experimenting with a new recipe, or sharing a laugh with family and friends. Mrs. Johnson joined the Clapham School Faculty in 2014.

Brian Kelly

Class Eight, Middle School Latin

Brian Kelly completed his BA in Biblical Studies and Ancient Language Studies at Wheaton College. While at Wheaton College, he focused on Biblical Greek, but also studied French and philosophy. Brian had the opportunity to work with the Green Scholars Initiative where he and a team published an ancient papyrus fragment of Exodus. Outside of school, Brian enjoys golf, ice hockey, rowing, and visiting the Jersey Shore. Brian and his wife attend Church of the Resurrection. Mr. Kelly joined the Clapham School faculty in 2013.

Daniel King

Class Six

Daniel King earned his MA in history from Wheaton College, focusing his studies on modern Christian thought and, in particular, the British writer G.K. Chesterton. He received his BA in history from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, completing a thesis on theologian H. Orton Wiley and his philosophy of Christian liberal arts education. Prior to his arrival at Clapham School, Daniel served as a Graduate Resident Adviser at Wheaton College and worked as a catalog assistant at the Marion E. Wade Center. Here he had the wonderful opportunity to catalog many of the books in C.S. Lewis’s personal library. He and his wife Victoria share passions for dystopian novels, Scrabble, and crossword puzzles. Having grown up in the deserts of Arizona, they remain enchanted by the magical cadence of “the four seasons.” They are members of Hope Fellowship in Lombard. Mr. King joined the Clapham School faculty in 2016.

Victoria King

Class One

Victoria King completed her BA in Psychology with a child development emphasis at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. During her time at PLNU she worked as a research assistant, presented at the Western Psychological Association conference, and interned at a local middle school with the school counselor and psychologist. After graduating, she moved to Illinois with her husband Daniel and began teaching preschool. She fell in love with teaching and has been doing so ever since! Victoria enjoys the newspaper, playing music, traveling, and reading novels. She and her husband attend Hope Fellowship. Mrs. King joined the Clapham School faculty in 2015.

Yara Kombwa

Spanish, Explorers Aide

Yara Kombwa completed her BA in Psychology at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. During school she volunteered as a tutor in a variety of after school programs for elementary school and high school students. After graduation she got trained as a Spanish/English medical interpreter with Metaphrasis. She currently volunteers as an interpreter at Mission Possible, a non-profit Christian organization that offers medical services to the uninsured. She is currently pursuing classes to become a certified biblical counselor. She enjoys hiking, baking, and listening to the radio. Yara and her husband attend Grace Church of DuPage. She joined the Clapham School faculty in 2016.

Julie LeMahieu

Music

Julie LeMahieu graduated magna cum laude with program honors from Northwestern University, earning a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. At Northwestern, she was awarded an undergraduate research grant to study parent-child musical interactions. She also worked as a faculty assistant, teaching at-risk Chicago Public School students a global music curriculum. Julie went on to earn a MA in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University Chicago as well as Orff-Schulwerk Certification from Vander-Cook College of Music in Chicago. She taught elementary school music for seven years in Lake Forest, IL. Julie and her husband, Nathan, have two (soon to be three) children and are members at St. John Lutheran Church. In their free time, they enjoy traveling near and far, exploring local forest preserves, and baking. Mrs. LeMahieu joined the Clapham School faculty in 2017.

Laura Talcott

Art

Laura Talcott graduated magna cum laude from Hillsdale College with a BA in art and English and a minor in German. While at Hillsdale she joined a traveling summer class that toured England with a literary focus on Shakespeare, Lewis, and Tolkien. During her final semester at Hillsdale, she served as a student art teacher at Hillsdale Preparatory School for K through 8th grades. Upon returning to Illinois, she pursued a certificate in botanical art and illustration from the Morton Arboretum. She serves at Crossway as a book editor; teaches arts, handcrafts, and sewing through 4-H; and regularly demonstrates these at Kline Creek Farm. She also spent a year teaching evening classes in painting for the West Chicago Park District. She attends Glen Arbor Community Church in West Chicago. In true style of her liberal education, she takes pleasure in many things, including reading, sketching, canoeing, gardening, knitting, and traveling. She seized the opportunity to tour artistic treasures of Rome and Florence, Italy, the summer before she joined Clapham in 2015.

Joleen Steel

Explorers Two (Kindergarten)

Mrs. Steel holds a BA in Elementary Education with a specialization in Early Childhood. Mrs. Steel has taught kindergarten, Second grade and Preschool. She is the former owner and lead teacher of New Song Music Studios. Mrs. Steel is the author of Music for Little Learners as well as several children’s books. In her spare time she speaks at homeschool events and women’s retreats about raising disciples who disciple others. Mrs. Steel is married to Pastor David Steel, together they have three boys and a cute dog named Molly.

Kat van Elswyk

Class Five

Kat van Elswyk earned a BA in English Literature from Biola University, graduating summa cum laude. While at Biola, she also studied great books in the Torrey Honors Institute. Kat has nine years of teaching experience, including five years teaching Middle School at our sister school, The Wilberforce School (Princeton, NJ). Before Wilberforce, Kat worked at Clapham from 2010-2012, teaching across the grade levels, developing our Upper School curriculum, and co-leading our accreditation initiative. Kat and her husband Peter have one son, Willem. They attend All Souls Anglican Church. Kat is passionate about reminding herself (and others) that there is always time for taking a few deep breaths, drinking a cup of tea, and reading a little poetry.

Sally Woodhouse

Class Three

Sally Woodhouse earned a BS in Elementary Education from Iowa State University. After college she worked as a nanny on the east coast and taught fourth grade at Westminster Christian School. Sally, along with her husband Ken, spent over twenty years home educating their six children using a classical, Charlotte Mason approach.  Family, decorating, sewing, foster care and adoption are among Sally’s passions. Sally and her family attend New Covenant Bible Church. Mrs. Woodhouse joined the Clapham School Faculty in 2015.

Margaret Worley

Class Seven

Maggie Worley earned her BA in American Studies from Hillsdale College. While at Hillsdale, she was a member of The George Washington Fellowship Program, a Constitutional studies program designed to teach students to understand statesmanship and American political culture today. During her senior year at Hillsdale, she observed and taught classes at Hillsdale Academy, a classical school connected with the College. Maggie also spent several summers working as a camp counselor at the Avery Coonley School in Downers Grove, IL. Maggie and her husband Daryle Worley attend Grace Church of DuPage. She enjoys playing Irish and Bluegrass fiddle. Mrs. Worley joined the Clapham School faculty in 2013.

Board of Directors

Doug Wright

President
Doug Wright has an extensive career in the field of sales and marketing in the business arena, serving in leadership roles at companies as diverse as Proctor & Gamble and Bank of America. He earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Washington State University, and is currently working toward completion of his Masters in Apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary. Doug has a passion for teaching and young people, which find their outlet in his church and other settings by teaching youth and adults in the topics of worldview, apologetics and systematic theology. He and his wife live southwest of Chicago.

Mindy Rynbrandt

Board Secretary
Mindy and her family have been part of Clapham School from the start, as one of the founding families. Mindy earned her BA in Communications and an MA in Biblical Theology from Wheaton College. She has worked in academic administration at both Wheaton College and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Most recently, she spent three years living in the Netherlands with her family and, while there, was a practitioner of the Classical-Charlotte Mason approach as a home educator. Mindy and her husband currently live in Wheaton with their four children and attend College Church.

Chris Stiernagle

Treasurer
Chris is the Global Workforce Planning Leader at GE Capital. He received his MBA in Strategy from Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business. Previously he was a Senior Consultant at Towers Watson for over 9 years.

John Byars

John is a partner in the law firm Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP. He received his JD from the University of Chicago Law School. He also earned an MA in economics and a BS in physics from Clemson University. John and his wife have four children; the three oldest are enrolled at Clapham.